Support Liberian Face Masks

Since the coronavirus has hit Africa, there have been 47,131 cases, 1,845 deaths, and 15,796 recoveries. Liberia, a small west African country, has had its fair share of casualties. So far they have 166 confirmed cases and 18 deaths as of today, May 5, 2020. These statistics are based upon the cases that are reported. So many underserved communities in Liberia lack healthcare centers that can properly test residents.

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Image Credit: dw.com

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Ebola epidemic claimed the lives of 4,810 Liberians. Thomas Nagbe is the director of infectious diseases and epidemiology department at Liberia’s public health institute. He admits that “not all counties are adequately prepared because of inadequate resources”. He also told Aljazeera News that only 1 ventilator exists in the country. Just one. A severe symptom of this virus is shortness of breath. More ventilators are needed for people to survive.

For lives to be saved, prevention is key. So many are setting up their sewing machines and creating face masks. The face masks are not only fashionable, they are saving lives.

The Bombchel Factory

An issue that remains within the fashion industry is staying above water. Many creatives, including those who sew, have to consistently market themselves to make a profit. It is a never-ending hustle. At the Bombchel factory, women are being trained to create clothes. With the pandemic growing, face masks are being made at a fast pace. Located in the heart of Monrovia, Bombchel is working hard to create face masks for their local community and the world. They teach women how to sew, and they also hold literacy classes. Skirts that are not being sold are being transformed into bright-faced masks. Their employee team is comprised of female Ebola survivors, rape survivors, and the deaf. They are a team of survivors that are doing all they can to save lives during this pandemic. The beautiful face masks are being made out of bold African prints.

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Image credit: Bombchel Factory

Since April 24, 2020, the Liberian government has mandated that everyone seen outside must wear a face mask. Cloth face masks must be washed regularly. Also, social distancing must be practiced. Wash your hands as much as possible. Keep a hand sanitizer by your side. And use disinfectant wipes on every surface that you can.

Support Liberians by buying face masks from the Bombchel factory. For every face mask purchased, one will be donated to someone who cannot quarantine at home.

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Image Credit: Bombchel Factory

To learn more, visit: https://www.shopbombchel.com/collections/all/products/cloth-masks

Sources:

https://www.africanews.com/2020/03/26/coronavirus-young-liberians-make-african-print-masks-for-protection-no-comment/

https://allafrica.com/stories/202004290448.html

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/liberia-braces-coronavirus-defunct-health-system-200403134851258.html

https://www.dw.com/en/turning-face-masks-into-a-fashion-statement-in-africa/g-53291542

Rihanna Rocks A Classic African Hairstyle For Vogue

For the May 2020 issue of Vogue, Rihanna chose to represent with a beautiful, classic hairstyle.  Her hair was styled in what is called the Betsimisaraka hairstyle. Such homage brings awareness to the distinctive styles that women of color display.

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Image Credit: UK Vogue

 

The Betsimisaraka Hairstyle Originates From Madagascar

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Image Credit: eBay

What makes this hairstyle so iconic, is the fact that Madagascar was discovered by women. Tropical and serene, this island is located off the east coast of Africa. The natives that inhabit the land carry Indonesian genes. A vessel arrived 1200 years ago on the island holding 30 women. It is a possibility that they sailed off course. Extensive DNA studies have traced today’s residents to these 30 women, who probably mated with African men who were already there. Indonesia and Madagascar have a distance of 5000 miles. So their trip across the Indian Ocean was quite a lengthy one.

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Image Credit: Picuki

Madagascar prides itself on having a mixture of Asian and African descent. They have many tribes, one of them being Betsimisaraka. Plaiting hair is seen as important to one’s beauty among their women. The Betsimisaraka hairstyles includes 5 tufts, 2 on each side, and one behind. They also wear numerous plaits that are not fully braided at the end, as Rihanna modeled.

Gold and silver pins are sometimes put in their plaits, right above their forehead. Other ornaments used are crocodiles teeth, bones, or shells. In the late 19th or early 20th century, the way you wore your hair let people know your rank and financial level. The rich would wear many silver and gold ringlets in their hair. Married women would wear their hair twisted up. Unmarried women would let their hair flow over the shoulders. In the year 1822, the Europeans arrived, and they introduced their unique way of styling hair. But that did not stop the Madagascar women from wearing their native hairstyles.

A Barbados Singer Who Pays Tribute To Culture

“I feel like I have no boundaries. I’ve done everything – I’ve done all the hits, I’ve tried every genre – now I’m just, I’m wide open. I can make anything that I want.” – Rihanna

This is not the first time Rihanna has shown love for her people. Just recently she donated $700,000 to Barbados so her people can have respirators during this pandemic. And for the cover of her Limited edition i-D Rihannazin cover, she sported cornrows. Her stylist for both magazines was Yusef Williams, a British-Nigerian. Cornrows are another popular African hairstyle. They have been seen in ancient paintings dating back to the early 5th century BC.

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Image Credit: i-D Magazine

Our motherland is where civilization started. So many inventions that began in Egypt have reached every corner of the globe. This includes different stylings of hair. How amazing. Our roots don’t only grow past our scalps. They have grown to touch many hearts.

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An African postal stamp, Image Credit: Dan’s Topical Stamp

 

What classic African hairstyle do you like to rock? Comment, like, and subscribe.

Sources:

https://www.seeker.com/madagascar-founded-by-women-1765687347.html

https://www.msn.com/en-za/lifestyle/lifestylebeautyandstyle/crowning-glory-rihannas-top-3-iconic-fashion-cover-looks/ar-BB120Xet

History of Madagascar, By William Ellis, Joseph John Freeman